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Public Statements

Temporary Increase in Borrowing Authority for National Flood Insurance Program

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MEEKS. Madam Speaker, I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

I'm pleased that today on this floor, though it may be a little late, that we'll finally act on a piece of legislation that's vital to the Superstorm Sandy disaster relief legislation to increase the borrowing authority by FEMA on behalf of the National Flood Insurance Program.

By increasing financing by $9.7 billion, this bill will enable the provisions of a central relief of 120,000 flood victims who have waited for far too long for the payment on the claims.

I support today's bill as an important step for recovery from Superstorm Sandy. When taken as a whole, the House's actions today, I believe, still are slow--67, 68 days have gone by--and I know we've got some commitments, but we're moving forward, and I'm hopeful that we will get the full entitlement that the individuals from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut vitally need. Some of the programs, of course, that need essential funding include the Army Corps of Engineers, who worked to protect New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut shorelines in coastal communities, and the Small Business Administration so they can provide loans to help small businesses.

But let me, before I yield back my time, take some special time to thank Mr. Garrett. I want to thank every member of the New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey delegation for working collectively together to try to make sure that our people--because this is an issue that affects the American people--that our people receive the kind of aid that they need. I particularly want to say to my friends Mr. Grimm and Mr. King of New York, and I've seen several times that they've sat and worked together collectively with our Governor, whom I also want to give a special thank-you to, Governor Mario Cuomo, and Governor Chris Christie from New Jersey, for working cooperatively, not as a Democrat or a Republican, but working as an elected official to come together to the aid of people who need aid, aid from a terrible storm.

And so I'm hopeful as we move forward--we do the $9 billion today, and do what we need to do by January 15--that we get certain things done and finally the people of this region receive the kind of aid that they need.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. MEEKS. I yield myself the remaining time.

It's 70 days. It is unprecedented that this region has not been treated like the other regions when they were in need of help. It's 70 days. Now we are going with this bill today, and what we are receiving is a promissory note, a promissory note that on January 15 we will be able to say to the people from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut who were victimized by this storm that their United States Congress--their House of Representatives--is going to be by their side.

So we have a promissory note. I will be concerned until we have the votes that are necessary for the people of this region and until the promissory note has been put into the bank and stamped with sufficient funds. The people have been suffering. They have suffered long enough. They need to hear from their government that their government is with them just as it has been with everybody else in this country.

I, for one, wherever the disaster may be, want to say that we've got the support. To this Congress, let's make sure we put forward this promissory note because I don't think a Democrat or a Republican can go back home after January 15 and say that the promissory check has bounced. We have to come back collectively and say to the people who are suffering that they, in fact, have been helped by their government, by their people.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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